Exhausting. Thrilling. Harrowing. Spectacular. One of the reasons I’m having such a hard time writing about Game 6 today is because the adjectives we’ve developed over the thousands of years of human speech are rather insufficient. I’m still reeling myself.
But one question some people have asked me today is how on Earth, after coming within one strike of winning the World Series last night, only to fritter it away on multiple occasions, can the Rangers bounce back? My response to that is: what, are you crazy?
Nothing in this World Series has gone as expected. Nothing can be predicted based on the previous game’s results. I would just as soon predict that the Rangers will activate Nolan Ryan and the Cardinals will active Bob Gibson and we’d have an exact reenactment of Game 7 from 1991 than I would predict that the Rangers would be unable to muster the emotional energy necessary to win tonight.
Remember 1986? After Buckner? The Red Sox had a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning in Game 7. Yes, they lost, but the “oh, they’re devastated” narrative didn’t hold up. Tired bullpens, the Mets execution and the Red Sox’ lack thereof is what decided that game, not momentum. To suggest otherwise is to impose a storyline we want to impose, not to reflect what happened. Or what we can at least accurately ascertain happened.
And so is the case tonight. Not having Derek Holland at the ready is going to be a way taller order for the Rangers to overcome than shell shock from Game 6. The fact that they’re on the road and that the home team has won the last eight Game sevens will matter more than shell shock too (though that’s not a predictive thing either). The Rangers’ defense — if as bad as it was in Game 6 — will play a huge role too.
But let’s save the drama-spinning for a while, OK?
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.